It isn’t necessarily accurate

I haven’t picked on commercials in a while, so I think it’s time I did.  Three targets today – one television, one radio and one from Facebook. Let’s start with the TV ad.

Recently the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has been running ads touting the joys and ease of using on-line banking to pay bills.  One such spot shows someone getting out their chequebook, some stamps and envelopes in preparation to paying their monthly bills – you know, that thing we all do once a month.  The ad also shows their identical twin sitting at their laptop doing the same thing and finishing much faster.  CIBC is pushing this so hard you would think this is a new concept and the “best thing since sliced bread” (what really is the best thing since sliced bread anyway?  Just asking.)  News flash for CIBC: while I know you were the first to computerize your account records back in the ‘60s, I’ve been paying my bills on-line through my bank for a couple of years.  Time to join the 21st century.

Radio next.  I’ve been hearing an ad for Pearle Vision (did you know they’re part of the Lenscrafters group).  At one point the woman voicing the spot mentions something to the effect they consider eye care a “sacred mission”.  Don’t know about you, but anytime someone says something is a “sacred mission” I run the other way.  Everyone’s eyes are different – different problems, prescriptions, or whatever.  If these people are fanatical enough to consider eye care a “sacred mission” I worry whether I’m going to receive what I need, or what they think I need.

Finally, Facebook. If you have a profile, you have seen all those annoying ads running down the right side of the screen. Sometimes I think these are written by people who have only the barest knowledge of English. The other day I happened to glance at one that suggested I could buy a vehicle with bad credit today.  Now why on earth would I want to buy a vehicle that has bad credit?  My credit is pretty good so why would I want to buy something that’s going to ruin my record?  A few more minutes working on the text for the ad would have been well spent and cleared up any possible misunderstanding – such as what I wrote here.  Perhaps that I was educated back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, when teaching English was taken seriously accounts for my “language police” attitude on occasion, so I blame the education system.  A sidebar on this one.  About three months ago, a man and his son applied for passports and that was when the man discovered his son couldn’t write his name.  Cursive script is apparently not taught in  Durham Region schools any longer. Printing yes, but actual handwriting?  Don’t be so silly.

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

By the way, I usually write these postings in longhand, then enter them.

C.

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More from the computer wars

Before I start, I notice that recently I’ve had a new reader from New Caledonia.  Welcome.  I hope you enjoy what you’re seeing.

Now, for years dating back to the ‘80s and our first computer, a Commodore 64, I’ve been engaged in a running battle with these infernal devices.  Every now and then, the system will enlist the aid of printers and software in these skirmishes.  Last June my trusty HP 4580 died after about 4 years of service.  As I’m a photographer, I decided to replace it with a new HP Photosmart.  I chose the 5510, figuring that for the $20 difference, I could turn the paper over myself whenever I wanted two-sided printing.  The theory behind the PhotoSmart was good, the practice was not.

Right from the beginning I had problems with the paper feed, the machine frequently feeding two or more sheets at a time.   This would not normally be a problem unless you’re printing a multi-page document.  Although it was a PhotoSmart (it said so right on the label) it wouldn’t print 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 photos straight, no matter what I did or said – and I’ll admit I used some very unladylike language.

After a week of these irritants, I contacted HP, who sent me a replacement.  I was not impressed with this second machine.  I had a week old printer which I had purchased brand new and they sent me a refurbished unit as a replacement.  Not that it mattered much for the replacement was worse than the original.  Where the original would feed two or three sheets at a time, on occasion the replacement would feed as many as eight at a time.  I returned the replacement and decided that, once the ink in the original was used, I’d replace it.  The ink ran out just after Christmas, so this past weekend, I went shopping for a printer.

The replacement is yet another HP, an Officejet 6700 this time.  Yes, it’s more printer than I really need at the moment, but that could change.  This one not only feeds just one sheet of paper at a time, it also prints photos straight.  And, I got it on sale.

Software will occasionally enter the fray as well.  As I wrote in “Editing ain’t easy”, I’m helping a friend edit her manuscript.  She uses MS Word to write, whereas I prefer WordPerfect.  I’ve been using WordPerfect 12, while she has a more current version of Word which WP 12 doesn’t recognize (I get “unknown format” messages if I try to open her documents in WP).  My computer came with something called “MicroSoft Word Starter”, which is a pain in the ass to use.

She usually sends me five chapters at a time.  I’ve been downloading them, then opening them with this MS Starter monstrosity.  From there it’s been a matter of copy and paste into WordPerfect.  Although WP won’t recognize the format when I try directly, I have had no problems with this method.  That is, no problems until today.  Today, I had the five chapters copied, but when I went to paste in WordPerfect, I got a message reading “out of memory”.  Excuse me?  A 93KB document is “out of memory”?  Okay, ran a programme to clear the clipboard and get rid of the junk files that always accumulate.  Just to be sure, I also defragged the drive, then tried again.  Same message.

To see if it was WordPerfect or my system, I decided to try to copy and paste the chapters into Open Office.  Worked just fine.  As I wrote, I’m using WordPerfect 12, which is ancient by software standards and thought that although WP12 had worked well for the first 35 chapters, perhaps it had reached the end of its life.  Went onto the Corel website and downloaded a 30 day trial of the newest version – WordPerfect X6.  Installed it and tried again with the same result.  Obviously I’ll be on the phone with Corel in the morning.  I discovered that while the 93KB total was too much for the available memory, each individual chapter was small enough to transfer.

When my friend sent more chapters later (I should have them done Jan 4 for you) I decided to give WP X6 a try.  Opened the Word files without breaking a sweat (figuratively of course).  Problem solved.  Or rather, that problem solved.  Now I have to rework my budget to find the money Corel wants for the new WordPerfect before the end of the 30 day trial.

I hope 2013 unfolds just the way you’d like it to.  Remember to hug an artist – we need love (and cooperative computers) too.

Cat.

Editing ain’t easy

A friend, Rusty Blackwood, has asked me to proofread her manuscript for “Passions in Paris: Revelations of a Lost Diary” and I’m flattered she asked me.

In addition to the various rants/ravings/reasoned discussions I post here, I also write so understand the time and effort it takes to create a 900 page manuscript.  I also understand the trepidation of letting another person, even another writer, “mess” with your work.  I’ve  had people proof some of my manuscripts, so I also know the questions that pop up in the mind of the writer, such as “how badly will they screw it up?” and “will I still recognize it when they’ve finished?”

Fortunately for me, Rusty’s language skills are good, which means my editing is mainly looking for the dreaded typos.  I may also make the occasional comment, or ask about her  phrasings in certain instances, but those are only suggestions.  By no means do I consider myself the arbiter of all things proper in the English language.  And of course, while doing so, I keep repeating to myself “don’t ruin her work”.

When you are proofreading someone else’s work, if you’re doing it correctly, you are more concerned with context as opposed to content.  Naturally the two are not mutually exclusive, but the reader must be more concerned with catching the misspellings (“I can spell, I just can’t type” is my usual excuse for those) than with the storyline itself.  From what I’ve read so far though, I can’t wait until Rusty publishes this so I can read it for pleasure.

Okay, back to my reading.  Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist, no matter  what field of creativity – we need love too.

Cat.